Ziegfeld Theatre

141 W. 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 28, 2006 at 5:05 pm

Astyanax: “Helen of Troy” is out on DVD from Warner Home Video, and it includes the overture.

Astyanax on February 28, 2006 at 3:39 pm

Max Steiner’s overture for Helen of Troy may have been one of the best characteristics of a disappointing film. The early scenes in Sparta are defintiely a snore, until the start of the battle scenes in front of Troy.

Don’t know if there is a DVD version yet, but the VCR edition has a separate segment devoted exclusively to the remarkable overture.

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Thanks for that update Peter, it does not surprise me that Lucas has decided to to go Digital rather than IMAX, he is one of Hollwood’s biggest Digital supporters. I saw the new Disney Dolby 3-D cinema format demonstrated this past fall, I was quite impressed,it is quite amasing, which is saying a lot for old die hard film guy like myself. The problem is you can’t use the same Digital projectors curently in use, exhibitors will have to purchase additional servers as some did for “Chicken Little”. However, with Lucas on board we will perhaps see more of the Digital format, both flat and 3-D than we currently do. Although I am in favor of film in motion picture theatres, I will support anything that helps get folks back to our theatres in force again.

PeterApruzzese on February 28, 2006 at 1:14 pm

The next re-release of the Star Wars films is scheduled for 2007 with the new “converted to digital 3-D versions” that Lucas is currently working on.

Vito on February 28, 2006 at 12:20 pm

My last discussion with the guys at Fox regarding “Star Wars” was, that lucas still has plans to release all of the movies in IMAX.
I don’t know how far along that idea has progressed.
As for “Star Wars” at the Ziegfeld, I can only tell you based on my experiences with his movies in theatres, Lucas is a control freak, print quality and presentation is, as it should be, extremly important to him. He involves himself in many aspects of the films showings in our theatres, including dictating which size auditoriums could be used in Multiplex Cinemas, which trailers (previews) could be shown before the movie and even the types of ads or slides that could be shown.
In 1983 Lucas helped develop the THX Theatre Alignment Program (TAP) as a service to filmmakers and studios. TAP was/is the industry’s most comprehensive quality assurance program whose services include reviewing release prints for image and soundtrack quality, distribution to theatres of technical facts about a film and proper equipment alignment, on-site equipment alignment
I am sure if “Star Wars” were to be presented at the Ziegfeld he would most certainly get involved.

SWIJ3 on February 28, 2006 at 10:52 am

My mistake on the Star Wars screenings, hope the Indiana Jones are crisp

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 28, 2006 at 1:50 am

I wonder if anyone who visits this page attended any of the LOTR showings. I saw all of these in theaters on their initial runs and have enjoyed the expanded DVD’s since then, so I elected to skip this series. Curious as to how well they are being attended, however, and whether the prints are good. In different times, these movies would have rightly been released (perhaps even filmed) in 70mm during their initial runs.

I don’t think any of the Star Wars films are scheduled for this series. Besides, if they were, how much would you wager that Lucas even allows prints to be struck any longer, the huge proponent of digital technology that he is. Not sure I’ll be able to make it to any of the Indiana Jones flicks (though I am trying to arrange for it) but I will definitely be around for “2001” and – with some luck – “Lawrence of Arabia.” I hope folks post on the quality of those prints before I make the trip in.

SWIJ3 on February 28, 2006 at 12:01 am

Any news onn the Star Wars and Indiana Jones prints?

How was the LOTR showings?

Vito on February 27, 2006 at 4:17 pm

For the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the program includes short subjects, a theatre orchestra overture by Al Erickson directing, and a prologue by Sid Grauman.

YMike on February 27, 2006 at 4:06 pm

If this overture was not originally part of the film it should not have been added to the DVD. Maybe the overture was added to the film for foreign distribution and not used in the US.

Vito on February 27, 2006 at 3:40 pm

Do we know if the original 1933 Roxy/Music hall run included overture?
Opps, now I’ve started something : )

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 2:40 pm

I agree Ed. I’m seeing this gent tomorrow and I’ll ask for additional details…

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Bob… if your Kong expert is correct, that raises an interesting debate in corrolation to this topic. By adding the “overture” to the DVD, are the producers doing the film a disservice by adding something to the presentation that was never intended by the film makers? Similar criticism was aimed at the “restored” VHS version of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” that included some footage that Kramer never intended to see the light of day in an effort to return the film to as close an original “roadshow” length as possible.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 27, 2006 at 1:58 pm

Robert Wise’s “Helen of Troy” (1956) had an overture, and quite a lengthy one, by Max Steiner.

Vito on February 27, 2006 at 1:46 pm

TCM has now included the overture when they play the film.

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 1:38 pm

I was told by a Kong expert that the “overture” on the DVD was not played before the film in 1933. It was recorded for a souvenir record created after the film was released.

YMike on February 27, 2006 at 1:22 pm

The “King Kong” overture must have been discovered quite recently since the current DVD release is the only version that has it.

veyoung52 on February 27, 2006 at 1:13 pm

More overtures come to mind: Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, DUEL IN THE SUN (both musical overture and off-screen narration), JULIUS CAESAR (1953), more recently William Friedkin’s SORCERER. BTW, in my above post about BIRTH OF A NATION, that should read NY Liberty, not NT Liberty.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Thanks for the responses, veyoung and YankeeMike. I never knew that about “King Kong”! I wonder when that overture was discovered? I saw “King Kong” at the D.W. Griffith Theater on East 59th Street when the scenes that had been trimmed in the 1940’s were restored in the ‘70’s, but I can’t recall an overture. The theater had rolled admission tickets back to 1933 vintage (10 cents) for the first few weeks of what turned out to be a very long engagement.

YMike on February 27, 2006 at 9:56 am

“The Great Ziegfeld” had an overture and that film was released in 1936. I know “The Sign Of The Cross” had an intermission but I am not sure about an overture. The original “King Kong” had an overture. It has been restored to the film in its recent DVD release.

YMike on February 27, 2006 at 9:56 am

“The Great Ziegfeld” had an overture and that film was released in 1936. I know “The Sign Of The Cross” had an intermission but I am not sure about an overture. The original “King Kong” had an overture. It has been restored to the film in its recent DVD release.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 27, 2006 at 12:28 am

I guess I thought the lion was roaring because there was music and Leo was moving due to the gentle undulations of the sheer traveler curtain. Funny tricks the mind plays sometimes.

veyoung52 on February 26, 2006 at 10:09 pm

It may not be the earliest, but “Birth of a Nation” was road-shown at the NT Liberty, incidentally, the same theatre where the live play “The Klansman,” on with BOAN was based, was introduced. Roadshows, in one form or another, with or without prologue/overture/intermission/entr'acte have been around for decades.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 26, 2006 at 9:56 pm

I was wondering if anyone could identify exactly when the roadshow presentation of a film began? And by that, I mean a film with overture and intermission with entr'acte, booked into an exclusive engagement with reserved seating. I caught the beginning of “Gone With the Wind” today on TMC and I noticed that there was an overture. I know there’s an intermission (and assume there is entr'acte music) and was wondering if all of this was part of the original presentation or if it was added later when the film received a cropped 70mm “widescreen” re-release decades later.

Were there overtures and intermissions during the silent era? I know the roadshow hey day was in the ‘50’s and '60’s and that films of great length were few and far between in prior to that, but were there other earlier films like “GWTW” that had this sort of presentation? For example, “The Best Years of Our Lives” clocks in at nearly three hours, did it include an intermission? I’m probably asking more than one question here, but any history about the history of overture and intermission in American cinema and how that evolved into the roadshow presentations of the '50’s and '60’s would be greatly appreciated.

JSA on February 24, 2006 at 10:31 pm

Regarding Lawrence of Arabia’s ability to impact present-day audiences, my thoughts are that it will. By virtue of its powerful images and literate script, it will connect emotionally with anyone who’s passionate about film, regardless of political or social inclination.

Ed: you’re right, the MGM lion doesn’t roar on Ben-Hur. He did roar financially however, since Ben-Hur was the top grossing picture for 1959 & 1960. And the 11 Academy Awards didn’t hurt him.

I believe that for its 40th Anniversary, some 70 MM/DTS prints of “Lawrence” were made.

From what I can gather, there are probably only two 70 MM prints of “Ben-Hur” in existence. Hopefully someone can correct me.

The last time I heard of a 70 MM print of “West Side Story” was in 1993.